Robert Erskine: Tunstall Shard
London born in 1954, Robert Erskine displayed a strong curiosity to all things mechanical from an early age, it was at the age of 13 that this curiosity became ambition, after visiting St Paul De Vence, Maeght Art Foundation for an exhibition and confirming his passion for creating sculpture.
Erskine went on to study at Kingston School of Art and Design gaining a BA Hons in Fine Art Sculpture going on to complete an MA also in fine art sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London.
Erskine is trained in stone carving, ceramics, drawing, etching, metal working and welding, though he often works in wrought, welded bronze, stainless steel and copper. His work is internationally renowned and he has exhibited widely in Japan, Europe, Great Britain and the USA. As well as having work held in private and public collections around the world.
Creating numerous monumental landmark sculptures throughout the UK and Europe means Erskine is naturally involved in design as much as his sculpture. Measuring 35ft high by 27ft wide and weighting 7.5 tons the Tunstall Shard is formed from wrought steel and references Stoke-on-Trent’s on going reputation as the Potteries. With a unique applied surface, the shading and tone mimics the texture of the original sketches for the sculpture, drawing is an essential part of Erskine’s designs, in order to help develop his abstract and figurative ideas. The Shards surface will absorb as well as reflect the ambient light; the front elevation faces Scotia Road to the west, creating dramatic lighting effects at sunset. The sculpture is 300 times larger than the original Roman shard it is based upon, with a scaled human fingerprint on its surface that was found on the original piece of Roman pottery which is thought to date back hundreds of years. The original shard was found in an underground oven when the former Wedgwood pottery site was being redeveloped. The Shard is situated at Jasper Square Retail Park, Scotia Road, Tunstall and was commissioned as part of the retail development within the area.
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